Monday, May 11, 2015

Thanks, But No Tanks -- A Word About Media Trips & Winery Tours

I’ve been all over the world in search of wine and the best wine tourism experiences. I’ve visited hundreds of wineries and toured countless tank rooms. I feel like I’ve seem them all: short tanks, tall tanks, round tanks, square tanks, indoor and outdoor tanks, and in a few places some truly enormous tanks.

Do I need to see more tanks?


What I’d like to see, and rarely get to see up close and personal, are the vineyards. I like to walk the vines, see the soil, notice the light, smell the air, and get a feel for the land on which the grapes are grown.

Sure, some places don’t necessarily have their own vineyards, and in some locations it may be dangerous {think land mines in Croatia} or inconvenient to tramp through the vines due to weather or workers -- but still, I’d rather see the vineyards instead of tanks or any crushpad equipment that is not in use at the time.

Same goes for the concrete eggs. I’ve seen quite a few in the last few years, and expect to see more as the trend continues towards concrete as the new stainless.

But why do people feel so compelled to show you the tanks? Mostly I’m talking about media trips here, where in one day you may see more tank rooms than most civilian wine tourists will see in a lifetime. I guess in some instances it gives a view to the size of an operation, but unless there is some truly awe inspiring or special quality about the tanks like the mosaic embellished tank room at Juvé Camps in the Penedès region of Spain; or the tanks at Raymond Vineyards with half naked manikins hanging from them...well frankly, I don’t care.

It’s kind of like someone showing you all the features of their fabulously designed house and then taking you to a closet and saying grandly--“And here’s our water heater!” 

All I really want to do is when I visit a winery is learn about the vineyards, hear about the winemaking methodology, history of the winery, taste the wine, and make my own conclusions. I want to get a sense about the winemaker as a person and get the general ambience of a place. I don’t need to see the tanks.

Thanks, but no tanks.


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